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Don't be a grinch: Police warn of package thefts this holiday season

Don't be a grinch: police warn of package thefts this holiday season

YAKIMA, Wash. - The holiday season is a time for giving, receiving and apparently taking.

Police said package thefts increase this time of the year because of the increase in people shipping gifts and shopping online.

Cinthia Benitez said a package was taken right off her front porch last week. Her family didn't even know it was stolen until they watched their security tapes.

"We looked at the cameras and that's when we noticed that someone had come to our porch, picked it up and took it," she said.

She said it was just a shower head but it cost more than $100, making the theft a felony.

However, Benitez said the thief must have had a change of heart because she found the package on her back porch last night with an apology note.

"He apologized and he says 'I know it doesn't make it ok me returning it but it's a start,'" Benitez said.

Police Lieutenant Chad Stephens said the best medicine is prevention.

"You can maybe work it out with your neighbor to watch for the packages and they can collect them for you," he said. "The other thing you can do and I've heard of some people doing this is even have those packages delivered to you at work."

Stephens said crooks are even following delivery trucks to see where the packages go. But the Yakima Police Department said they are sending out cops out of uniform to do the same.

"It's a crime of opportunity so if we can remove the opportunity then we can greatly reduce the crime," Stephens said.

Benitez said she forgives the thief but still wants to warn others out there because not everyone will be as lucky to get their stuff back.

"So just making our neighbors aware that this happened to us to make sure to keep their packages safe and be aware during this time," she said. "There's a lot of people, not just him but a lot of people that take advantage of the holidays."

Police said if you notice your package missing you should file a police report.

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